This is an important question, according to Seth Godin, the world’s leading blogger on sales and marketing. This question is just one part of his latest book, The Icarus Deception, which tells us not to be afraid to fly too high.

Godin is left field of most business book writers that you will come across. He writes like Dr Seuss with more words but the same tipping from the insane to cold common sense truth. Perhaps he knows this is his style. In his introduction he has one sub head referring to “green eggs and ham”.
Godin tells us that to be successful today, we have to be artists. Are local retailers artists? I think so. He does too.
On page 97 he shows a picture of a blackboard outside Joe Dough’s store. It says: “Come in and try the worst meatball sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life.”

The Icarus DeceptionGood retailers around the UK already engage with their shoppers like this. It is the art that gives them an edge against the multiples.
This book is not for everyone. 2013 is going to be a very tough year. Some people may be in survival mode and not into personal growth. They will not want to read this book. This book works like a scrapbook of ideas that you can dip in and pull some inspiration out of. They will find Godin’s exaggerations and enthusiasms off-putting. They will find it too much like hard work.
But it is worth the hard work. I recommend you invest in a copy of The Icarus Deception because it is full of ideas that will inspire you. Godin gives you permission to be who you are.

He tells you to notice the word around you. In 1993 he looked at the web and wrote a book that told people what they could find there. He made $80,000. Using the same investment of time and effort that Seth had made, the guys who started Yahoo! made $80 billion. “A million times more than I did with the same information,” Godin writes.

Then, he missed the big picture. But today he will help you see it. He writes about Joey Roth who makes a glass teapot. Most people don’t care about glass teapots. But enough do to make it a viable business for Joey.

This happens in local shops too. Last week, I was in Ewelme, an ancient village in Oxfordshire, and its village store is amazing. Outside is a great billboard offering hot chocolate. I was tempted. Similar villages nearby don’t do it anything like as well!
Godin says six things matter today: trust, permission, remarkability, leadership, stories that spread and humanity. We get better at what we practice, he writes.

Mass marketing (Wal-Mart) is efficient but the internet has changed the game. He asks: What do you want your customers to become? “Amazon turned its customers into people who are restless with on-line stores that don’t work quite as well or quite as quickly.”

Think about it. What you want is shoppers who are raving fans of local shops. Your local shops. Godin’s book will help you find them.